A plan for new athletic fields in the Iroquois Central School District includes more parking, rest rooms and storage facilities, and that was good news for the Board of Education.
The new plan, developed by school architect Scott Jones and accepted by the board Monday, calls for the elimination of one of the softball fields across from the Girdle Road campus, while expanding parking from 60 spots in the original plan to 120 parking spots.
In addition, there will be a restroom, eliminating the need for portable toilets. Extra space can be set aside for storage facilities, too. All the fields will be moved back from Girdle Road for safety purposes.
Another proposal called for restoring the eliminated softball diamond which would require the field hockey and lacrosse teams to share a field. But School Superintendent Neill Rochelle said this plan would result in a field that would be in constant use and could get "trashed" and has no accommodation for rest rooms or storage.
A third plan called for 200 parking spots but no rest rooms or storage and the elimination of the softball field.
Rochelle noted that two older softball fields behind the school had been refurbished last year and will lessen the impact of the eliminated field. Those fields can now be used as permanent fields instead of practice fields.
In the plan for the new fields, pathways over a gas well easement in the middle of the 22-acre parcel eventually may have to be ripped up to get at the well if there is a problem. But, Rochelle said, "This is a chance we have to take."
The new configuration would give the school district the space they may need in the future to build a concession stand and extra parking, Rochelle said.
The new entrance to the fields will align with the new entrance opened this fall across the road in front of the high school. A traffic light is expected to be installed at a later date at the recommendation of the state Department of Transportation so those attending the games can move safely across the road.
Bids on the renovations will go out in January with groundbreaking set for spring.